Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wheels for Daemon

photo of Daemon
Daemon in his new chair
Daemon Wabel had outgrown his wheelchair. “He’d had the same wheelchair since he was three, and he’d outgrown it,” said his mother, Stacey.

It was too narrow, and it was falling apart. But replacing it would mean paying a $4000 deductible, and that price was awfully steep.

So Stacey found an ad on KSL Classifieds that mentioned the CReATE program. Based in Salt Lake City, CReATE takes used mobility devices and refurbishes them, then transfers them back to people who need them at a low cost.

She contacted Tom Boman at CreATE. Tom asked for some measurements, then searched the inventory for a chair that would work. CREaTE doesn’t normally stock pediatric chairs, but they did find a smaller chair for Daemon. “It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Stacey said.

That was just the first step. Boman needed to refurbish Daemon’s new chair, so he did some welding on the old one to help it hold together until the refurbished one was ready. “He’d gotten a lot of use out of that old chair,” Boman said.

Boman also modified the new chair so that it could accommodate Daemon as he grows.
When Daemon received his new chair, it was a joyous moment. He does not talk, but he still communicated.  “When we changed him out of his other chair, he screamed with delight,” Stacey said. “I’m not exaggerating. He was just bouncing around in there. … It was very obvious that he loved this chair.”

Boman said CReATE helps people—like Daemon—who have needs that cannot be met. Often, insurance programs only pay for a wheelchair every five years. Many chairs don’t last that long. 

Fortunately for CReATE, other chairs do outlast their owners’ need. Some of those are donated to CReATE, where they are refurbished and transferred to those who need them at a low cost. CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment) is part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

To find out more, visit the CReATE web page.

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